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Pali Road 

Wednesday, Apr 27 2016
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To describe a film as resembling a Lifetime movie is generally considered an insult, as are comparisons to any female-centric genre — soap operas, romantic comedies, et cetera — but damn if Jonathan Hua Lang Lim'sPali Roadisn't hardcore Lifetime material. That's a compliment, because those can be good, pulpy fun. Lily (Michelle Chen) is a heart surgeon in Oahu whose colleague Mitch (Sung Kang) carries a torch for her, and actively disapproves of her boyfriend Neil (Jackson Rathbone). When Lily and Neil get into a car accident, she awakens from a coma to discover that there's no evidence Neil ever existed, and that she's actually married to and has a child with Mitch, who puts her in the care of skeevy therapist Tim (Henry Ian Cusick). Making no attempt to reinvent the wheel, Pali Road is wholly unsubtle in its foreshadowing — complete with the Hawaiian equivalent of a Gypsy curse! — and Lim never fails to telegraph its themes or set the action on a dark and stormy night when appropriate, though he dares to give the film a comparatively dark ending by the genre's standards. In particular, the picture recalls the 1998 Sherilyn Fenn vehicle Nightmare Street,which actually first aired on ABC — but, like Pali Road, it was pure Lifetime at heart.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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